New vegan grocer is part retailer, part advocate
Donisha Gant’s boyfriend introduced her to vegan living and, once she had a taste, she couldn’t help but share word of its health and social benefits with family and friends.
She now wants to take that information to a wider audience, and plans to do it with her new vegan grocery store Plantae.
But even though everything in the store is 100% vegan, Gant wants people to know their diets don’t have to be.
“I talked to my family about just changing out a couple of things. They thought they had to go cold turkey but no,” she said.
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Gant will create and share cooking videos, with an eye toward helping those who are new to vegan ingredients. But she already has heard from vegans in Western New York who have expressed their excitement over the opening.
The store is at 212 Grant St., in the former Blue House Collective, near Lafayette Avenue. The 1,500-square-foot store will carry vegan-only foods, expanding its selection according to community demand. Eventually, there will be a section offering hot and prepared foods.
“We’re hoping to grow with the community,” Gant said.
Gant is leaning on her studies in retail buying, inventory management and merchandising as part of the bachelor’s degree in fashion she earned from Villa Maria College in May, and it has come in handy. She has been challenged by the fact that there are few organic stores in the region, meaning the lack of a robust supply chain leaves her off the beaten path for deliveries.
She also noted some vendors have not given her the same level of service as they do the large chains. She had to make an impromptu trip to New York City this week when one supplier said it couldn’t deliver some hard-to-find brands to Buffalo.
“Two vendors just told me they can’t deliver to me, even though they deliver to Texas and Connecticut, so I have to take a random trip to New York City to pick up merchandise,” she said.
Want to know more? Three stories to catch you up:
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EllaRose Boutique makes the leap from online
Kristen Leiker of Amherst opened Ellarose Boutique in East Amherst late last month.
The boutique has done business online only since 2019 and this will be its first brick-and-mortar store. The online shop has done $1.2 million in business, Leiker said.
EllaRose sells inclusive women’s clothing, shoes and accessories. Clothing comes in sizes small to 3XL.
It’s located at 9630 Transit Road, Suite 800.
Chapter Aesthetic Studio opens
Chapter Aesthetic Studio has opened at 2980 Sheridan Drive. The medical spa offers face and body treatments, lasers and injectables, such as microneedling, Botox and laser hair removal.
Tonawanda is the first of two studios opening this year in the Buffalo market, with a second location opening this fall in Orchard Park.
“The State of New York is a primary focus for Chapter Aesthetic Studios, which has plans to continue expansion there over the next several years,” said Victoria Smurro, a Chapter Aesthetic Studio spokesperson.
Chapter plans to open 10 locations this year in Iowa, Minnesota and New York.
New York is also home to Chapter Aesthetic Studio’s parent company, TAG – The Aspen Group. TAG owns WellNow Urgent Care and Aspen Dental.
Chapter Aesthetic Studio is based in Chicago. The original location is in Fargo, N.D.
Tops Markets expands Instacart
Tops Markets has expanded service with Instacart, a third-party company that provides its home delivery and curbside pickup services.
There are nine stores included in the latest expansion, all but one of them are outside of Western New York, including one at 658 W. Main St. in Arcade.
Verizon’s 5G Ultra Wideband network is improving. Verizon has started deploying 100 MHz of C-band spectrum in select markets across the country, including Buffalo.
It’s a significant increase from the 60 MHz of spectrum Verizon has deployed in the past. It will make for faster speeds, better performance and wider service availability.
CATCH UP ON LAST WEEK
Recent news tied to Buffalo Niagara’s economy
A third warehouse is in the works for the former Bethlehem Steel site in Lackawanna.
Environmental cleanup costs are driving up the price of a North Tonawanda apartment project.
The developer of a Hamburg senior housing complex is seeking tax breaks for the next phase of the project.
Mindy Rich says she’s ready to take over as the chair of Rich Products Corp.
ACV Auctions has hit a speed bump, but despite its slowing growth, the company’s CEO is optimistic about the long term.
The Frontier House renovation project in Lewiston and the new Trek facility in Niagara County are getting tax breaks.
Struggling pharmaceutical firm Athenex is raising $30 million by selling more shares of its stock.
Buffalo mechanical engineering firm Stark Tech has acquired two Lancaster companies that make equipment for the renewable energy industry.
Eight Niagara County small businesses have received Covid relief grants.
Amazon is getting $124 million in tax breaks for its big Niagara County distribution facility, but when will work begin?
An Ellicottville food products company is expanding to grow more fresh greens – and looking for tax breaks to help pay for it.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is holding a hearing in Buffalo on racial and economic justice issues later this month.
Mindy Rich is taking over as chair of Rich Products Corp. Her husband, Robert Rich Jr., has shifted into the role of senior chairman.
A Town of Tonawanda nursing home has been fined $53,000 by federal regulators after a resident fell to her death from a third-floor window earlier this year.
Plans for a big pot-growing business along the Lake Erie shoreline are moving forward again.
More upgrades are coming to the area around the Bell Slip at Buffalo’s Outer Harbor.
Five reads from Buffalo Next:
1. Why are car washes popping up all over the Buffalo Niagara region? There’s a gusher of money from deep-pocketed investors that’s helping regional and national chains expand into new markets, while mom-and-pop operators also are trying to cash in.
2. The local housing market is still going strong, although it has started to show signs that it’s cooling down from its red-hot status of last year.
3. At Moog, a homegrown company takes off: With good-paying jobs, strong customer connections and technical expertise, Moog’s operations are the type of manufacturing that the region’s business recruiters are eager for more of.
4. With Covid-19 waning, tourists are returning to Niagara Falls. But international travelers still haven’t come back in the same numbers, and that’s leaving a big hole in the local tourism market. Inflation and fears of a slowing economy aren’t helping, either.
5. Rich Products relies on innovation and new products to keep its business growing – and a good portion of those efforts are based in Buffalo.
Buffalo Next reporters Jonathan D. Epstein, Jon Harris, Natalie Brophy, Matt Glynn, Janet Gramza, Samantha Christmann and Mike Petro contributed to this roundup.
The Buffalo Next team gives you the big picture on the region’s economic revitalization. Email tips to [email protected] or reach Buffalo Next Editor David Robinson at 716-849-4435.
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